ERBIL, Iraq — On Thursday, about 50 students graduated from the Catholic University in Erbil (CUE) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in a ceremony attended by senior religious and political figures. The event was used as a platform to promote coexistence and call for an end of sectarianism in Iraq, a country which has become synonymous with the term.
Chancellor of the University Chaldean Archbishop of the Diocese of Erbil Mar Bashar Matti Warda said that the students have developed friendships and respect for students across cultural and religious backgrounds and are happy to see one another successfully graduate.
Archbishop Warda established the university in 2015. The CUE offers bachelor’s degrees in many fields, including engineering, information technology, and pharmacology.
He stressed that for the Christian community to prospore in Iraq, help has to come from within. “I am not in the mood for waiting for other people to do something for me, I will take care of my community as much as I can,” he said.
The ceremony was attended by Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Mor Louis Raphael Sako. During his speech, he expressed concern about the alarming rise in illiteracy in Iraq and criticized religious extremism, saying that it has destroyed coexistence, increased sectarianism, and broken the fabric of Iraqi society.
According to Vida Habib Hanna, the public relations and communications director at CUE, 78% of the university’s students enjoy a full scholarship, while the rest receive partial funding, including housing.
The university was established for people in need and is open to everyone.